Monday, June 01, 2015

  • Monday, June 01, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
DW reveals something interesting about Gaza:

Scenes of destruction in this neighborhood are a constant reminder of the 52-day war in 2014. Nearly a year later, some of the rubble has been cleared, but damaged and bombed-out homes across vast fields of grey rubble still dominate the landscape. The neighborhood is clearly far from being rebuilt. Residents often see convoys of armored cars passing through; a tour through the neighborhood has become a must for foreign dignitaries and politicians visiting the Gaza Strip, which remains isolated from the world as Israel and Egypt tightly control their borders with it.

Issam Alewa has seen many of those convoys passing through in the past months. He said it is important that foreigners come to Gaza and see the damage first hand.

"We welcome them. Let them all come and see it," said the father of 13 children. But expectations are low that the situation will improve any time soon. Alewa's home is barely inhabitable. Most of the outer walls of the three-story house are gone. The ceilings are riddled with holes. The family lives on the first floor with a sitting room that doesn't have any walls.

"Everybody tells me that it is not safe to stay here, and that I should tear it down," the 52-year-old said. "But I don't know where else to go."
The article later admits that tens of thousands of Gazans have reconstructed their damaged homes:

Almost 60 000 families have so far received aid to repair their damaged homes through the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), which was brokered by the UN with Israel and the Palestinian Authority last October. However, financial pressure and strict controls over importing building materials from Israel make the GRM a very complicated process.
Yet for some reason the reporter didn't go to any neighborhoods to witness the repair of tens of thousands of homes. (And if the process is so complicated ,how have 60,000 families managed to navigate it successfully?)

It seems likely that Hamas, and to an extent NGOs like UNRWA, want to keep Shujaiyeh as a zoo to show the world how evil Israel is.

To put it simply, there is no excuse for not clearing rubble nine months after the war. There are bulldozers in Gaza, and indeed entrepreneurs recycle rubble to create new concrete and aggregate. Gaza's 40% unemployment rate means that there are plenty of people around willing to recover and sell this rubble.

Yet Shujaiyeh remains almost the same as it was in August, except perhaps for clearing the streets for the constant convoys filled with gawking Europeans.

This photo was taken in April by AFP.

The Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism says that 58,000 families have received 100% of the materials they need to rebuild.  Another 30,000 have purchased part of their needs, and they can buy the rest whenever they want to. (The reason that no completely destroyed houses have been rebuilt is because of bureaucracy, not a shortage of materials or restrictions from Israel. And very possibly that bureaucracy is also meant to keep Shujaiyeh in the shape it is in today.)

Given these facts, it seems likely that the very PR-conscious Gaza leaders (and NGOs) are purposefully keeping Shujaiyeh in ruins, and keeping its residents in misery, in order to use it for propaganda. Reporters, happily complicit with a story that hands them such great visuals, won't ask the hard questions and will not be allowed to visit the areas of Gaza where people have rebuilt - or sold their cement to Hamas on the black market.

Gazans are kept homeless so that reporters can take photos such as these and write articles such as this one.

(h/t American Guy)

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